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FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Silas Wood Writes First History of Suffolk County
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Silas Wood (1769-1847). Historian Silas Wood, author of the first history of Long Island, A Sketch of the First Settlement of the Several Towns on Long-Island, was born in West Hills, Huntington, in 1769. He attended Princeton College, where he pursued a course of classical studies and graduated with honors. At age 22, in 1795, Silas was elected to the New York State Assembly. He served there for four years, and introduced bills for the formation of social libraries and for the state Highway Act.
In 1817, Silas Wood was elected by the people of the 1st Congressional District of Suffolk County as their representative in Congress. He retained his congressional seat for five consecutive terms, from 1819 to 1829, during the 16th to 20th Congresses. During most of his time in Congress, Rep. Wood served on the Library Committee, which suited him well given his love and knowledge of books and literature. He also served as Suffolk County District Attorney (1818-1821).
Wood’s A Sketch of the First Settlement of the Several Towns on Long-Island; with Their Political Condition, to the End of the American Revolution (Brooklyn: Alden Spooner) was published in three editions: the first in 1824 in 66 pages, the second in 1826 in 112 pages, and the third in 1828 in 183 pages. Silas Wood is buried in the Old Public Cemetery in Huntington.